At a recent conference, a group was standing around and someone (who shall remain anonymous) bravely spoke up and stated a fact many of us have been feeling, thinking, and trying to figure out. "I really am tired of this whole social media thing." There was a bit of silence, but the nodding heads proved that many of us were in agreement.
I wonder if it has anything to do with the fact that most of us in this space, RBC frequenters, unConference or Social Recruiting Conference attendees have been tackling Social Media - going at it - for quite a while now. Many for three years or longer. And the surprise is always there when a session is filled with many that have never even logged onto a social media site, let alone dig the Twitter scene.
It hasn't been easy, as a matter of fact, almost weekly the rules change. LinkedIn has started to look an awful lot like Facebook and the home page of Facebook looks like a Twitter stream and Plaxo lurks in the corner like some creepy cross breed of Facebook and LinkedIn. And the "keep up" is exhausting, a concerted effort to stay active and keep up with the changes is a must or is it?
I used to spend a couple hours a day cruising through Twitter and other sites, worried I might miss the next big announcement or an opportunity to respond to something hi-larious or off-the-charts. But something amazing started to happen about six months ago. Work got busy, then it got busier. And one might theorize that because I was keeping up, because I was aware of what was going on, surely this is why I became so busy. Perhaps, but the busy began to limit my social media time spend. And it was a good thing, I have learned how to quickly skim the sites for anything of interest or that might affect me or my job / company.
Effective time spend must be budgeted, just like effective money spend. If you don't measure the give / loss, how can you possibly understand the gain? Measuring the ROI of social media time spend is next to impossible for its reach is really unknowable. The only thing you can really measure is the time spent engaging, thus the time NOT spent doing something else, perhaps something more effective like talking to potential clients / customers face-to-face. Novel concept.
Social media is a great icebreaker, but it isn't the party. That's not always so easy to remember.